Can we discuss your successes in the last year and any obstacles you overcame to achieve them?
In the last year my biggest success has been a smooth transition between our San Diego office and Sacramento Office. A major challenge during this process was arriving in the new city and office, and then having COVID-19 disrupt our normal way of life. Staying flexible and finding creative ways to continue to meet client needs has been key to the successful transition in these odd times. I’m looking forward to continuing to get to know the area as things open up and continuing to serve our northern California clients as they themselves are working through their own challenges.
Tell me about your background, Julia.
I started my career in construction when I was 19 – working initially for Knife River Corporation in Oregon. My job was to visit their ready mix and asphalt plants to ensure safety requirements were being met.
After I graduated from Gonzaga University, with a civil engineering degree, I worked for Kiewit in various roles. I gained experience as an estimator, superintendent, design manager and project engineer – much of this work was in the heavy civil and structure sector, which became a real passion for me.
When I moved to San Diego I worked for a small life-science contractor, Cannon Building as a Senior Project Engineer before joining HKA (at the time, Hill International).
What inspires you in your job?
For me, it’s the ability to help our clients overcome major project hurdles. I am passionate about what I do because often the analysis I perform is the first time the project team is getting a magnitude of their damages or delays due to a given issue.
It is rewarding to suggest new options for project teams to consider that will ultimately let them focus on what is important—getting back to building work.
Describe a typical day in your role.
I spend most of my time getting into the nitty-gritty details on a project. Cost records, schedules, and existing correspondence are all important documents that I spend considerable time evaluating.
While I primarily work remotely, I do travel at times to meet with project teams or attorneys. Each project is unique and I adjust as needed to meet those specific needs.
In between this, I try to find at least some time each day for professional development. This may involve attending training sessions or simply reading industry articles to stay up-to-date. A benefit to my role is that I also get to work closely with junior staff to help with their training.